tv Politics Nation MSNBC July 10, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
food. here's the obvious point. it's not only how much we're eating, it's what we're eating as well. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. thanks, michael. and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, the defense rests without hearing from george zimmerman. this entire case boils down to a confrontation between two people. only those two people know exactly what happened that rainy february night. one of those people is dead. the other has decided not to take the stand. >> did you now have sufficient time to discuss with your attorneys whether or not you wanted to testify in your case? >> yes, your honor. >> after those discussions, have you made a decision? >> yes, your honor. >> what is your decision, sir? >> after consulting with counsel, not to testify, your
honor. >> how will the six jurors react to not hearing from mr. zimmerman? well, joining me now msnbc legal analyst lisa bloom, former prosecutor faith jenkins, john berris a formal prosecutor, and ken patowitz and marcia clark author of "killer ambition." thank you all for being here. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i want you all to weigh in here starting with lisa. how will the jury react to mr. zimmerman not taking the stand? >> this is a sequestered jury. they probably want to get on with it. they've heard his version of events. and they are told not to hold it against him he's not taking the stand. and they all say they follow
that. >> faith? how do you feel the jury's going to take him not testifying? yes, they will be told not to hold it against him, but what they're told and what is human is sometimes two different things. >> the reality is you have to teenage kid who they now know was walking back to the place he was staying, not committing any crime. and he ends up dead. and there have been a number of inconsistencies in george zimmerman's story. so i'm sure the jurors wanted to hear from him. but they're going to be instructed. they cannot use that against him. but there has to be a question why doesn't he get on the witness stand and explain what happened to this kid. if they're saying it's self-defense, we want to hear from zimmerman himself. that's always a consideration that defense attorneys take into account when they decide not to put their client on the stand. >> ken, what do you think this does or does not do to the jury? >> i think the jury is going to first be shocked and surprised. they're going to want to have
hear from zimmerman himself. but on the other hand if i was a defense attorney, i would advise zimmerman not to take the stand. the jury has heard from zimmerman through the taped statements and the numerous statements he has made that's come out in this case. the jury is going to want to have heard from him, but i believe they will follow the judge's instructions. and they will put the shock of not hearing from him live in person aside and are going to weigh this case and follow the law the best they can. >> marcia clark, what do you think? >> yeah. you know, reverend, in my experience jurors have come and told me i wish i could have heard from him. i was curious about him. i kind of wanted to hear what he said. it's more curiosity than a need. and especially in a case like this where you've heard so many statements from him. they know his side of this now. there's no question in their minds about that. they probably would have out of curiosity liked to have seen him. >> what do you say john burris?
>> as a defense lawyer i would be inclined not to put him on. the jurors do not hold that against him. this case looks different in the case it's a self-defense case. a jury would like to hear from the defendant, but in this case they will have heard from him any number of times. and they've seen him a number of times. i don't think they're going to hold it against him. i think the defense lawyers will do a good job arguing their case. and neither one of them will make any reference to the fact he hasn't testified. >> now, it was a little fireworks between the defense attorney and the judge when the judge directly addressed zimmerman himself on whether or not he was going to testify. watch this. >> did you have an opportunity to talk to your attorneys about whether or not you want to testify in this case? >> yes, your honor. >> do you need some more time to talk to your attorneys about that? >> no, your honor. >> okay. if you'll please raise your right hand for one moment.
>> do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do. >> and you have the absolute right to remain silent. you do not have to say anything. is that correct? >> yes, your honor. >> and you have the right to testify if you want to. and aye given you an opportunity to discuss with your attorneys whether or not you want to testify in this case and you have indicated you have had those discussions. >> yes, your honor. >> and have you made a decision whether or not you want to testify? >> i object to that question. >> okay. overruled. have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to testify in that case. >> i object to that question. i think -- >> overruled. the court is entitled to require if his determination is whether or not he wants to testify. mr. zimmerman, have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to testify in this case? >> not at this time, your honor. >> and how long do you think you
need before you make that decision? >> may we have an opportunity to speak? the case isn't concluded yet. >> i understand that. and i've asked mr. zimmerman if he needed more time to talk to his attorneys and if he does, i will afford it to him. mr. zimmerman, how much more time do you think you are going to need to discuss this with your attorneys? >> i assume it will depend on how long the recesses are, your honor. the end of the day. >> well, if your attorneys are finished with two witnesses before the end of the day, do you think that you would know then whether or not you want want to testify? >> on mr. zimmerman's behalf -- >> i am asking your client questions. please, mr. west. >> i object to the court inquiring mr. zimmerman as to his decision about whether or not to testify -- >> your objection is overruled. mr. zimmerman, i will give you more time to discuss this with your attorneys. thank you very much.
>> you smiled a little there, lisa. in fact, all of you smiled a little. a little testy there. let me start with you, lisa. what was all that about? that was a little strange for those of us that don't spend every day in courtrooms. >> practicing law is not for the faint of heart and it is not the job of the defense attorney to be nice and it is not the job of the judge to be nice. so she's trying to get this done. she's trying to ask the standard questions of a defendant when he elects not to testify. i think she was under the impression he was ready to answer those questions. and don west, i think was trying to say we're not ready. ask us a little later. everybody's doing their job. that's what i guess i'm smiling about. >> faith? >> what happened here is don west wanted her to wait until they finished presenting their case and their witnesses before asking the question. you have to understand the jury is sequestered here. the judge is aware of that. she wants to move forward with the case. so she thought he would be prepared to make that decision.
this trial has been going on for three weeks now. they're at the end of their case. she thought at that moment she could get an answer. it appeared that perhaps george zimmerman maybe wanted to testify and that he was having a discussion with his attorneys about whether or not he should. his attorneys apparently and rightly so advised him not to in this case because his statements are already in. but i think that that signified that he perhaps wanted to testify and wanted to talk further about it. >> john burris? >> i thought the judge was frankly inappropriate, myself. i thought don west was entirely correct in the position he was taking. if he had made a decision, he didn't want to telegraph it at that moment. the judge could have waited until the case had ended. and on top of that, i understand the judge was looking at scheduling questions about it, but i thought she overstepped her bounds making this inquiry at this time. the defense lawyer did not want to have his client making statements. maybe that decision had not been
resolved. they had resolved it but not had convinced him. i think that was something the judge didn't need to do at that time. >> marcia clark? >> i totally disagree with that. it's a matter of law. that is the defendant's right alone to decide whether or not he wants to testify regardless of what his lawyers want. it's ultimately his to choose. and so it's very important that the judge get on the record that he himself has made the choice to testify or not to testify. regardless of what his lawyers advise. it sometimes happens even back in chambers when there's a disagreement about that. nevertheless, she was well within her right to make the record that she had to make to make it very clear on appeal that she inquired directly to the defendant, he made his choice, it was his choice and his alone. and not the choice of his lawyer. it was inappropriate for mr. west to be objecting to her inquiry. that was him saying i object to you asking my -- [ overlapping speakers ]
>> ken, i'm the -- >> object to anything but he's not right about it. he can object to me sitting here if he wants to and i'm sure he would. but that's -- >> ken padowitz to the stand. >> i practice law in the state of florida for 27 years and a homicide prosecutor at that. and i can tell you they're both right. the defense attorney was doing his job. he has a right to object and protect his client. also some experienced trial lawyers with backbone in florida believe their client shouldn't have to answer any of these questions. that they have a right to remain silent and no inquiry should take place. the judge, it's her courtroom. she wants to protect that record. she wants to make sure it's clear the defendant and the defendant alone waived az rights to take the stand. so here they're both correct. >> let me move into a little of what did happen today in terms of the defense case.
i want to talk about one of the last witnesses called by the defense today. man named dennis root. he's a former veteran law enforcement officer and trainer. he was hired by the defense as an expert witness. the prosecution questioned him on some of his testimony like why he didn't ask mr. zimmerman about various aspects of the fight that happened the night that trayvon martin was killed. on cross examination, prosecutor john guy actually used a dummy to demonstrate inconsistencies in root's testimony. watch this. >> by the way, did you have the defendant do this? >> no, sir. >>. >> you didn't have him do that? >> no, sir. >> if this person -- this mannequin were carrying a firearm on their waist, where would the gun be right now in relation to me? >> it would be at your left inner thigh. >> right here, right? >> yes. if he was right-handed it would
be at your left inner thigh. >> underneath my leg? >> yes, inside your leg. >> were you aware that the defendant described to his best friend when he slid down, the defendant slit down that trayvon martin is up around his armpits? were you aware of that? >> no. i'd not heard that. >> where would the gun be now? >> now the gun would be behind your left leg. >> now, george zimmerman's attorney used the dummy to demonstrate how someone might bash the victim's head into the ground. so i turn back to my panel and faith let me start with you. how effective was using the dummy and how did people in court respond to the demonstration? >> i thought this was great. i thought the cross examination was great by the prosecutor here. he's cross examining this witness as if he's george zimmerman answering these questions on the witness stand. how is this physically possible? because this witness just put forth george zimmerman's statement as if it's the truth.
so the prosecutor guy was able to use the dummy and show the jurors this isn't physically possible. the prosecutors here are not wed to one theory about how and what happened when trayvon was killed. they're alleging george zimmerman killed him and the story and narrative he's given is simply not the truth. they were able to use this dummy, bring it into court and use this witness to invest that theory. >> lisa? >> well, i certainly like that the prosecution got down and demonstrated with the dummy, but they didn't do enough. there was so much more they could have done again on cross examination. but they did not do. for example, how about stand the dummy up and demonstrate another theory about what happened not just the defense theory. how about put george zimmerman on top and the dummy on the bottom as several witnesses testified they saw. instead, they're sticking to the defense narrative. they're giving the jury a visual of the defense narrative. i think that's going to stay in the jury's mind. >> john burris, could they have
done that? did they have to stay with what the witness was testifying to? >> they absolutely did not have to stay with the defense. they have their theory of the case. there is some evidence in the case. any prosecutor lawyer should also cross examine trying to get evidence that supports their theory of the case. they don't have to just regurgitate what the defense said. to give points to cross examine on that. another point i have -- lisa made this point more so. that is the location where the gun was supposed to have been when george zimmerman demonstrated in his tape, the gun was behind his hip, not on the side. that is something no one has talked about and was a clear point. >> i was waiting for it. >> let's go to you, ken padowitz. >> the defense put on a fan it's aics expert witness yesterday.
the beefsteak tomato. today they put on a cherry tomato and they're overtrying their case. they didn't have to put this witness on. what happened was they gave a great opportunity for the prosecution to score some points. i didn't like the fact the prosecution got on the dummy in front of the jury and basically admitted that trayvon martin is on top. all along the prosecution has been that trayvon martin is on the bottom. so i think that was a problem. and maybe the prosecution is changing course and admitting now that in fact trayvon martin was on top. >> or maybe they agree with my point. or, ken, maybe they agree with my point. it doesn't matter if he was on top or not. marcia clark, my position is what difference does it make who was on top or bottom. but go ahead, marcia. >> that's it, reverend. there you go. that's what i was going to say. he could have been on top at one point. there was a tussle. there's no denying the fact there was a struggle. one time one is on top, one time the other.
i don't mind that john guy accepted even in your best version, look at how inconsistent this is. look at how he couldn't reach the gun. trayvon isn't in a position to see the gun or reach it. here's something else i think no one has talked about that bothered me from day one. he says he can get his hands free. he says he moves trayvon's hand off of his mouth. that hand's free now. he moves the other hand and is able to reach his gun. with both hands free are you really telling me -- if i'm a juror i'm saying you expect me to believe you couldn't have pushed him? just reach for the gun? that's a telling point. >> i want my legal panel to stay with me. there is much, much more to the trial today. coming up, the key moments from this trial including the dramatic testimony from the last person to speak to trayvon martin. and for the first time since the trial began, we'll speak to ben
crump, the martin family attorney. and remember, friend or foe, i want to know. send me your e-mails. reply al is coming. stay with us. la's known definitely for its traffic, congestion, for it's smog. but there are a lot of people that do ride the bus. and now that the busses are running on natural gas, they don't throw out as much pollution to the earth. so i feel good. i feel like i'm doing my part to help out the environment. [ male announcer ] the distances aren't getting shorter. ♪ the trucks are going farther. the 2013 ram 1500
have you joined the "politicsnation" conversation on facebook yet? today our facebook community watchers were there to watch the trial together on our live feed all day. coming up next, we'll go live to sanford and look at the key moments in this trial. we'll also hear from trayvon martin's family lawyer ben crump. but first, we want to hear your thoughts on the trial. please head over to facebook and search "politicsnation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends. hey linda!
the defense in the george zimmerman trial rested today. setting the stage for closing arguments which start tomorrow. ultimately george zimmerman's fate lies in the hands of the jury. six women, five of them are white, and five of them mothers. joining us from sanford is craig melvin. what can you tell us about the jurors? >> rev, always good to see you. i can tell you the jury for the most part has been pretty engaged throughout the course of the trial. today, in fact, they were
especially engaged. i just heard your panel talking about this. doing the dummy exchange when the dummy was brought out. mark o'mara used the dummy and the state used it as well. the jurors in the back row during that demonstration actually stood up to watch what was happening. john guy there. juror 6, this is a juror we been paying attention to. this juror takes notes consistently. this is a native floridian. she's been in the area for ten years. she's unemployed right now. she has two kids. one 11 and one 13. she also asked a lot of questions during the selection process. and juror e-4 is someone according to the documents that all the jurors submitted, she keeps her head down when that 911 call has been played. and this is, of course, that call has been played over and over throughout the course of
the trial. recent transplant from iowa. watches football, reads, travels. two of the other jurors have developed a bit of a relationship. they frequently nod at each other, smile at each other and pasds notes. this is a jury that has been engaged. something else about this jury. every time judge nelson has asked if they want to continue or take a break, they always say continue and plow through which could give us insight on how they could handle deliberations. >> all right. msnbc's craig melvin. interesting tough, by the way. thank you. right now i want to turn to some of the most critical moments in the trial. the key evidence and testimony that could help determine how the jury decides. moments that have occurred over 12 days of testimony. including 38 witnesses called by the prosecution and 18 called by the defense. back with me is my legal team lisa bloom, faith jenkins, john
burris, ken padowitz, and marcia clark. i want to start with this key piece of evidence that came from trayvon martin's friend rachel jeantel. she was on the phone with trayvon moments before his death. she testified in court that martin told her he was being followed. listen. >> he say why are you following me for. then i heard a hard breath man come say what you doing around here. then i start saying trayvon, trayvon. then i heard a bump and i had a feeling it was the bump of the headset. i kind of heard trayvon say get off, get off. >> then what did you hear? >> then the phone hung up. shut off. >> lisa, how key was this witness for both sides? >> well, she's key for the prosecution because she's really the only witness to say essentially that the aggressor in the fight was george
zimmerman. that's the implication. get off, get off. it sure sounds like trayvon martin is down or he's being shoved or is being held against his will. and that george zimmerman is the aggressor. the problem that she has is that she didn't use those words get off, get off in her prior testimony. i don't know how much weight the jury is going to give them. >> faith? >> i think she's absolutely critical. she paints a clear distinction here. who do you believe? george zimmerman's version of what happens when he meets trayvon martin or rachel jeantel? there is a clear distinction here. a lot of people said these jurors aren't going to be able to relate to her. this is a murder trial. i think they will listen to her and give her testimony the acredibility -- the credibility to her testimony that needs to be there if they believe her. that's going to be important here. the she is a critical witness for the prosecution. >> john? >> well, she's obviously important on the question of being followed by -- trayvon by george zimmerman. she's critical in she shows he
was following. but that trayvon was not following him. that he didn't come out of the bushes or jump on him. he in fact was trying to get away. and there's a lot of evidence to that. that puts george zimmerman in a more difficult position. and it contradicts his mental state at the time he claims he was not following. i think she's important. >> ken? >> she's a crucial, very important witness for the pros confusion. not only did she testify trayvon said he was being followed and pursued, but we know there's corroborative evidence. we know the 911 call to the operator by zimmerman where the operator said don't follow him. which corroborates her testimony that zimmerman is in fact stalking, following, pursuing. that he's the aggressor, not trayvon. so this is very, very important testimony for the prosecution. >> marcia clark? >> and you will look to see the prosecutor in closing argument doing exactly what ken was
talking about. corroborating every bit of her testimony because she is the final witness in drn's last moments to what was going on between him and zimmerman. so she is absolutely critical for the prosecution. to the extent that her testimony shows that zimmerman lied when he said he didn't know what street he was on. that it made no sense. she corroborates the fact he was the aggressor and was following. when he told the dispatcher, he was not going to, he continued to. the only worry i have about her credibility is that she didn't previously say that she heard trayvon martin say get off me, get off me. overall if the jury finds her as credible as i do, i think they'll be okay with that testimony and believe it. >> let me go to another testimony. john good who was an eyewitness who said trayvon martin was on top of george zimmerman. listen to this. >> the person who you now know to be trayvon martin was on top, correct? >> correct. >> and he was the one who was
raining blows down on the person on the bottom, george zimmerman, right? >> that's what it looked like. >> how important is that testimony, marcia? >> very important. that's key testimony for the defense. there's no question about it. but as you and i have agreed, the fact that he may have been -- trayvon may have been on top at one point wouldn't bother me as a prosecutor. i'd say look it's clear there's a fight. and at one point at the point that he saw it, he saw trayvon on top. that's fine. that doesn't mean he stayed there. here's the other thing that i want to point out. when you hear the screaming and the yelling, it stops abruptly when you hear the shot. now, if george zimmerman is the one screaming, i don't hear him stopping quite that abruptly. to me i'd be listening to that tape not necessarily worrying about whether i could tell whose voice it was but the logic of that. how come the one who stops abruptly is the one who got shot. >> lisa? >> right. well, i agree with that. and i would add that george
zimmerman's defense to i was the screamer, i stopped when is the shot rang out is because then the threat was eliminated so why do i need to keep screaming? the problem with that theory is george zimmerman's own story which is i didn't think that trayvon martin was dead when i shot him. i thought he was still a threat. that's why i got out from under him. i turned him on his stomach. i held his hands out. in fact, des moin george zimmerd he didn't know until later at the police station that trayvon martin was dead. so he didn't think the threat was eliminated. >> the defense is focusing on john good's testimony. the prosecution is focusing on the fact that george zimmerman was the initial aggressor. he was the one that approached trayvon. he had the loaded gun. he went to confront him. the person with the loaded gun. that's going to be their focus in their closing arguments. >> ken padowitz. >> john good's testimony was crucial for the defense. they're hoping that hit the home run for them.
but getting back to the screaming, you know, as a human being if, in fact, you just shot someone that you were defending yourself from, why wouldn't you continue screaming for help? help, we still need the police. we still need an ambulance. i just shot them. you expect a human being would continue screaming, but the screaming stops after the shot. and that is circumstantial evidence. >> it is not controlling in large measure because you don't know what happened before. and we do have -- you have to put it together with rachel's testimony. you know that there was some contact before. there may have been a struggle at the very outset that could have been tumbling back and forth. then trayvon might have been fighting for his life. so i don't think that is controlling. i think that also the issue of who was screaming, that's going to be a problematic issue for the jurors and they're going to have to reach a consensus. they may not because the issue of group bias we all talked about in this case.
that's going to be challenging for them as well. >> i think you all raised good points. i thank you all for joining us. i would only raise one point. not only will they have to deal with who was screaming and whether that's significant, the screaming also did end right after the shot. i would also raise the question if i was the prosecutor, why would you be screaming while you were taking it out of the holster and shooting? the screaming was going on during that whole time. so why are you screaming and shooting? marcia clark, thank you for joining us. the rest of the panel will stay with us. coming up, martin family attorney ben crump speaks with us for the first time since the trial began. stay with us. ♪ [ slap! ] [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium-rich tums starts working so fast you'll forget you had heartburn. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums
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how is the martin family doing through all of this? >> well, reverend sharpton, it is very emotional for the parents to get this far on their journey to justice and then to have such a difficult time sitting through the trial. but every day they pray and they just have faith that everything is going to be all right. >> now, you have not been able to sit in the courtroom because you were a potential witness. and you've been outside of the courtroom. but you've certainly probably monitored the media and talked to your law partners. what is your assessment of the trial now that the defense has rested? >> unfortunately, reverend sharpton, because of the ruse, i was not able to monitor or watch the trial in any way because i was potentially going to be called by a witness by the defense. they didn't call me, but i
couldn't watch. i generally believe as i've always believed all along that there was overwhelming evidence to hold george zimmerman accountable for getting out of his car, profiling, and pursuing trayvon martin. and we all heard the 911 call. and minutes later, trayvon is shot in the heart. so we have faith that if the jury follows the evidence, he will be held accountable. >> let me show you one emotional moment in the trial. this was during your client sybrina fulton's testimony. including one of the moments that the defense cross examined her. listen to this. >> okay. >> you'd certainly hope as a mom -- you certainly hope that your son trayvon martin would not have done anything that would have led to his own death, correct? >> what i hope for is that this would have never happened and he would still be here. that's my hope. >> how do you respond to that
exchange where the defense attorney really implied she was hoping for a certain scenario and it seems she took it somewhere else? >> well, i'm a little surprised that she was cross examined about certain things. there's a certain respect you give to victims. and that didn't seem to be as thoughtful and considerate of a mother who lost her teenage son who was just walking home minding his business who had every right to defend himself against a strange man who he didn't know who confronted him. and so sybrina and tracy, they have been a wonderful, wonderful example of keeping their constraint, their composure, and try as best they can to remember evidence about getting justice for their son. every day and every night, that's all they pray for.
that's all they've worked for, reverend sharpton. and you can't imagine the conversations we have about how it's hard for them to imagine trayvon is gone. >> now, attorney crump, i want to raise something to you that i addressed last night. there are some that have speculated what would be the reaction if for some reason there is an acquittal here of all charges. and what would be the reaction in particularly the african-american community. and i not only stood up and talked about my position and record in that, but i could say from when you called me about this case on, this has been the insistence not only of you and attorney parks but of the family that everyone conduct themselves at rallies and at all proceedings with utmost respect and peace. i remember when someone had said they wanted to put a reward out on george zimmerman. that mrs. fulton told us no, you
all go back in the press conference and she denounced it. so there is no remote inference by anyone that has been connected with the family or the protests that we would want anything but to see justice in the courtroom and nothing less violent no matter what the outcome. >> yes, sir, reverend sharpton. they have always prayed and asked for peaceful justice. they want everybody to follow their example. because if they can accept the rule of law, then everybody should be able to. they don't want people to do what they believe george zimmerman did the night when he shot trayvon in the heart by taking the law in their own hands. and we clearly understand that this verdict is going to set a precedence one way or the other. it is going to say whether anybody who cares an unarmed child will be held accountable or you can kill certain unarmed teenage children from certain
ethnicities and not be held accountable. a precedence is going to be set one way or another. we just pray to show everybody that this is not right. >> attorney crump, thank you for your time tonight. thank you for being here. we will be talking to you, i'm sure, as we go further into deliberations and the result. george zimmerman faces 25 to life for his second degree murder charge. but he could also face years in prison for lesser offenses. my legal team on that ahead. my mantra?
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it is the search for justice for trayvon that has brought us to this moment. today we filed an information charging george zimmerman with murder in the second degree. >> that was florida special prosecutor angela announcing the charges against george zimmerman more than a year ago. to convict zimmerman on that charge, the state needs to prove that zimmerman committed quote, the unlawful killing of a human being demonstrating a depraved
mind regardless of human life. and that the killing was done with ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent. but the story doesn't end there. just a short time ago, the prosecution asked for lesser charges to be considered. >> the next one is when there are lesser included crimes or attempts. and what the state has listed in the proposed instruction is manslaughter and aggravated assault. is the state requesting these lessers? >> yes, your honor. >> any object from the defense? >> we object, your honor. i think that is something to take up tomorrow. >> the defense objected to the lesser charges and it will be discussed tomorrow. if the lesser charges are approved, it means george zimmerman could still face years in prison. back with me is my legal panel lisa bloom, faith jenkins, john burris, and ken padowitz. ken, let me start with you.
why is the prosecution asking for lesser charges to be included in this case? >> because the way it works in florida, the judge is going to read the instructions to the jury. and one side has to ask for lesser included crimes. if both sides don't ask for it, the judge is not going to give lesser included crimes. here the prosecutor wants toe jury to have options. it's smart for the prosecutor to do this. the defense does not want options. they want all or nothing. they're feeling good about their case. that's why they didn't put zimmerman on the stand. so the prosecutor is looking for options for the jury. and the objection by the defense as to the manslaughter lesser included is going to be zero. the defense has no chance in keeping that out. the law is clear in florida. they're going to get that manslaughter lesser included instruction. on the other issue of whether or not an aggravated assault lesser included crime gets read to the jury, the defense has a good argument that they can make there. because that's called a level two offense and it's completely discretionary with the judge as
to whether or not she reads the aggravated assault to the jury. manslaughter will definitely be read. aggravated assault remains to be seen. >> lisa, by giving the jury options, does that mean the jury can say i don't know that i think this is beyond a reasonable doubt but i think this is. and if so, what are you just guessing the likelihood is of the strongest thing assuming all of this goes in front of the jury and only assuming because the judge may not do it. >> what lessers do is give the jury an opportunity for a compromised verdict. they're not supposed to do that, but if three of the women on the jury want second degree murder and three of them want an acquittal, they can reach an agreement in the middle on a lesser. they are not supposed to do that. it happens all the time. i personally think the evidence is there for second degree murder if the prosecution can put this away in closing. ill will is very clear to me from the language that george zimmerman used when he first saw
trayvon martin, a-hole, f-ing punks. that was only minutes before the shooting. the whole thing happened so quickly. you mean to tell me he got fonder of trayvon martin during the fight? i don't think so. he intentionally pointed the gun at this young man's heart and pulled the trigger. there's no question that this was done intentionally. then the only question is self-defense. we don't have time to go into it now, but i think the prosecution can beat back self-defense. if they do that, they've got ill will. i think they should push for that in closing argument. >> let me show this tape in terms of second degree murder. >> good morning. [ bleep ] punks. these [ bleep ], they always get away. those were the words in that grown man's mouth as he followed in the dark a 17-year-old boy who he didn't know. >> faith, that's how the prosecutor's opened with their
opening argument speaking to what lisa just referred to as ill will and how he was speaking just moments before the killing. is that enough to go for a second degree murder at this point now that we're at the end of the trial? >> i think it is. listen, there is some undisputed facts here the defense wants to get away from. one is the recording. george zimmerman's words on that recording. the jurors now are going to have a clear picture when the prosecutor gives the closing arguments here. george zimmerman did not know trayvon martin. trayvon martin was not committing a crime. yet he called him these derogatory names. referred to him as if he was a part of a group. based on george zimmerman's previous experiences with people who got away, trayvon martin was not going to get away. george zimmerman had a gun, never identified himself as neighborhood watch. these are absolutely horrible facts for the defense. they can't get away from these facts which is why i think the
prosecutors did the right thing by charging second degree murder here. >> john, in order to get a manslaughter conviction, the state must prove one, the victim is dead, two, the defendant intentionally committed -- procured an act that caused the death of a victim. three, the death of the victim caused by culpable negligence of the defendant. how much easier is it to get this conviction? >> i think this charge is proved, period. and i think the defense was always worried about this particular charge, that's why they're fighting so hard to keep it out. and point of fact is don west the other day when he raised the question about reasonable, that was a mistake on his part. because he doesn't want the issue of reasonableness to come into play. he wants to say the prosecution has not proven all the elements of second degree murder. so i do think like everyone else that there are facts there that support a second degree murder. i also think there are more than enough facts to prove
involuntary manslaughter. put aside what happened before the statement was made. then you have the question whether the force used was reasonable. whether or not the injuries he would receive are of a sufficient nature that it would cause a reasonable person to think their life was in danger. given what we have from the facts, it doesn't appear these are particular injuries. even though there's blood, it wasn't deep seeded injuries of a kind. you could say you have a good faith but unreasonable belief that your life was in danger. that gives you manslaughter on these particular facts. although i do say you can get the other. i know they don't want aggravated assault. that strikes me as something that the prosecution wants just as a fallback position. but i don't think that the judge is going to give that. this is a second degree murder case or voluntary manslaughter case. >> lisa bloom, faith jenkins, john burris, and ken padowitz thank you for your time. we'll be right back.
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closing arguments in this trial of george zimmerman. around the killing of trayvon martin. there's been a lot of emotion, a lot of passions that have been unleashed over the last year or so around this case. but it will all come down to arguments tomorrow and six members of a jury will make a decision. but let me be clear. no matter what their decision, there'll be no winners in this case. if the defense wins, mr. zimmerman will have to still bear the burden of the accusations and will be known for this throughout his life. if the prosecution wins, the family of trayvon martin will not get their child back, their brother back. so therefore, whatever the outcome there should be no gloating and should be no violence. we should use this evening to reflect and see how we bring
society where we can deal with these things in a fair and balanced way. balanced in the sense where justice works for everyone. and where everyone has equal protection under the law. and where we all become better learning from bitter experiences. that's what we can do tonight in the juries in our own minds. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the defense rests. let's play "hardball!" ♪ good evening. i'm michael smerconish, in for chris matthews. it's day 22 of the george zimmerman trial. the defense has rested and george zimmerman has chosen not to testify althou